Journalists present on the media helicopter which flew at the same time have now gone public and described the ride as the roughest in their experience and it is believed several of them got sick on route as the helicopter pitched and swayed in the gale force winds.
The decision to fly was a last second one and the Irish government were taken aback because the winds far exceeded normal levels for presidential helicopter trips. They had laid out an alternative trip by road to Moneygall.
New York Times reporter Mark Landler yesterday described the situation. saying that despite the weather ... “the military pilots decided to go anyway, and four helicopters took off with Mr. Obama and his retinue for a stomach-churning, 40-minute flight across the windswept countryside."
In Moneygall some of the American media stated that Obama’s impromptu downing of the pint of Guinness was in reaction to the dangerous trip.
There was more drama to come in Dublin according to the Times on the return trip “When the president’s aides climbed out back in Dublin, a fierce gust, combined with the wash from the helicopter’s rotors, caught Mr. Obama’s senior European adviser, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, and threw her to the ground.
“Ms. Sherwood-Randall got to her feet, but the wind ripped two bags out of her hands, scattering their contents — a sheaf of commemorative posters of Mr. Obama’s visit — across a field. A dozen Irish police officers chased after the fluttering pieces of paper in vain.
White House doctors on the scene examined Ms. Sherwood-Randall, who was shaken up, and she stayed on the trip.
One other point showing how happy Obama was to get to Moneygall was that when Secret Service men tried to usher him inside when it began raining he refused to go because he was having such a good time.